25 May 2012

That 3 o'clock feeling

Further north in the unstable weather I learnt that 3 o'clock would likely bring about my daily beating. It seemed to be the time that the thermal driven clouds would start to flex their muscles, the rising wind or the late squalls testing my mettle and more than once driving me to the beach.
Today it arrived an hour early; without the brutality of those northern days but still enough to make me finish early, pitifully early.
To be fair the forecast was touch and go but it was a beautiful morning in sleepy Mundesley so I was cautiously optimistic. For a number of reasons it was a late start but I took the long downhill trolley through the village at a steady pace, if the forecast was true then I was in no great hurry to get on, I'd rather make the most of the sunshine on dry land!
Down at the lifeboat station the contractors working on the sea wall had downed tools as they waited for the dumping surf to move back down the beach. They could now amuse themselves watching me dodge the waves as I moved my kit from the slipway to the slim sliver of beach.
Scouse Tommy came over to say Hello, but yet again it was soon time to go. I blew the first launch, I even had to get out and reposition the boat - with told-you-so smiles from my audience.
The second effort was thankfully better and after a steady sprint I was clear. The conditions were quite pleasant, a 12mph from the SE with a 2ft swell (forecast 18mph ENE 2-4ft).
Heading along the coast, there were clear skies and no fog, so I could watch life slip by.
The wooden slatted sea defences made me ponder my options though as conditions picked up. At high water the endless lines of woodwork gave no get out options at all, not even for a swimmer. They also started to make a fair amount of washback bouncing back out to chop things up.
I was now working into a steady 15mph headwind, things going ok though. But as I neared the artificial reefs the wind picked up and went more easterly (on-shore), I sneaked inside the reef for a little shelter with a lone boardie, kite surfers and the RNLI lifeguards hoofing around in their dingy for company. I was getting a little chilly now in the strengthening wind so I took the opportunity to add a layer to keep me warm, watching the Terns as I ate my lunch in the sun and chilly breeze.
I continued along the reef and then out into open water, but it wasn't long before I was heading for the beach once again. The wind had continued to strengthen and the chop was steep and chaotic now with the tops breaking. The swell was coming in to play too and to be honest I couldn't be arsed slogging away at it all anymore.
So I surfed in to the beach, having one of those on top of the breaker moments, where as the aerated wave rushes past all that is above water is your head, a curious feeling.
It seemingly took forever to drag the boat out of the wind and into the dunes and where I watched the gulls and swifts working the lift on the boundary of beach and dunes.
And that's how things stayed; a check of conditions every 2 hours and watching the birdies (even had a Kestrel(?) at one point). Eventually I realised that the day was done and set up camp; I looked again not long ago and things are decidedly worse than when I landed - the tent is also rattling a little in the wind now.
On the upside, summer has arrived and I only had to sleep in one jacket for the last two nights (and no hat!) Perhaps I should have invested in a new sleeping bag after all.

Sent from my phone

1 comment:

barry shaw said...

Don't forget John, NO FUN!